Praise for Bury St Edmunds mental health unit’s new care model

News from the Bury Free Press
News from the Bury Free Press
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A mental health unit’s newly adopted care model has been praised by a leading psychiatrist as a way of ‘trying to put patients in the driving seat’.

On Monday, Wedgwood House, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s unit in Bury St Edmunds, introduced a recovery-based care model aimed at streamlining admissions and eradicating discharge delays.

Patients now receive a ‘comprehensive assessment’ on their first day, when planning for their discharge also begins.

Dr Sri Kalidindi, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Rehabilitation and Social Faculty, is ‘very much in favour’ of the model.

“Generally it’s very positive in terms of trying to give a sense of hope and control for people who have mental health conditions, and their carers,” she said, adding that, rather than being seen as a way of reducing resources, it should be viewed as a way of making services sustainable.

Mike Seaman, acute service manager for West Suffolk, said it was hoped the model - being trialled for 12 months - would enable 50 per cent of patients to return home within two weeks, while patients requiring more support would be transferred to treatment and recovery wards.

Wedgwood House will also be the first inpatient unit to introduce peer support workers on its wards, selected from previous and current service users.

Dr Kalidindi said: “Peer support workers are an excellent addition to the workforce because they have life experience - they can provide hope and, I think, having been in the situation themselves, they can approach things slightly differently. People will listen to people that have lived that experience rather than other professionals who may have but can’t divulge that.”